Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Team Grades: Arizona Cardinals

Round One: Jonathan Cooper, OG/C, North Carolina

I like the Arizona went with the line for their first selection, but Warmack is a better guard. That's my biggest complaint with this pick. Lotulelei and Warmack were the only two players ahead of them on my big board for positions of need for the Cardinals. I really would have liked them to have taken Warmack, but Cooper will still help out their line.


Round Two: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

Minter was at one point a first round prospect, and I really don't know exactly why his stock fell. I think this is a great value for a tackling machine like Minter. He will be starting day one in Arizona's front seven. They made it clear they are happy with their tackle position, so ILB was one of their biggest needs. I love this selection.


Round Three: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

This is a tough pick to grade. Mathieu undoubtedly has first round talent, but he hasn't played in a year and comes with tons of character concerns. You can really only grade this pick based off how much his character bothers you, because this pick offers enormous value based on talent alone.  Pairing him with Peterson will be an amazing combo as long as he doesn't mess up off the field.


Round Four: Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas / Earl Watford. G, James Madison

One great pick and one terrible pick. Okafor was expected to go early day two, or potentially even at the end of round one. Getting him on the third day of the draft is amazing. This was one of the best value picks in the entire draft. He also fits a position of need, the pass rushing position. I was actually surprised when Arizona passed on him in round three, I never thought he'd fall this far. As for Watford, a major stretch at a position you shouldn't reach for. He's a mediocre guard who should have been drafted late on the final day of the draft.


Round Five: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

I like this selection for Arizona. Taylor is a running back with tons of potential who could have gone on the second day of the draft. He could easily become Arizona's starter sooner than later.


Round Six: Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M / Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

Another great round for the Cardinals. Swope generated a ton of hype after the combine, and had the ability to go as high as then end of the second round. Finding him in round six is amazing. Almost as good a value as the Okafor selection. Ellington is another prospect that fell, as many people had him ranked as a better running back than Taylor, who they took a round earlier. Two great value picks who could end up contributing very early for the Cardinals.


Round Seven: D.C. Jefferson, TE, Rutgers

Good TE value depth. Jefferson could have gone a round earlier, and might get the chance to contribute a little because of how thin they are at the position.


Aside from the two guards, I loved every single one of these picks. They all addressed needs and provided great value. If their first round selection provided value too, this draft would easily receive and A. Unfortunately, they reached in round one which is the most important selection. Cooper certainly helps the team, but that's just way too early for him.


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